Bolognese Sauce, known in Italian as Ragù alla Bolognese is a rich and meaty sauce that is slowly simmered for several hours to intensify its flavor. Serve it over pasta or use it in lasagna or baked ziti for a hearty, flavorful meal. Freeze any leftovers for a quick and satisfying weeknight meal. As an added bonus, it’s quite easy to make.
I used the following ingredients for this delicious Bolognese Sauce: Mild Italian sausage, onion, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, light brown sugar, salt, freshly ground black pepper, petit diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, and water. If your sausage is in casings, remove the casings.
Making the Bolognese Sauce:
As a first step, I browned the Italian sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the sausage was nicely browned, I dumped it onto a place lined with paper towels. This allowed a lot of the grease to drain off. Once the sausage was somewhat cooled, I broke it up into small pieces with my hand and transferred the pieces to another paper towel to further drain.
After I dumped the sausage out of the skillet, I wiped the interior of the pan with a paper towel. Then, I returned the pan to the burner set on medium heat. Next, I added the onions to the skillet and cooked them for about 5 minutes until they started to soften.
Once the onions started to soften, I returned the drained sausage to the skillet. Then, I stirred to combine everything. Next, I added the basil, oregano, brown sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I stirred the sausage/onion mixture to incorporate all of the ingredients, Then, I added the garlic.
I gave the mixture a good stir and let the garlic cook for about 30 seconds until it was fragrant. Next, I added the “wet” ingredients – petit diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine and water.
I stirred everything together, brought the mixture to a slow boil, covered the skillet and lowered the heat to medium low. I cooked the Bolognese Sauce for about 3 hours. During that time, I stirred it every now and then until it was thick and chunky.
I served the Bolognese Sauce over Orecchiette with a sprinkling of minced parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. As an added treat, I served it with crusty French bread and glass or Merlot. The Bolognese Sauce was absolutely delicious. Yum!
This is a repost from August 27, 2016. Since that time, this Bolognese Sauce has become my go to pasta sauce to serve over pasta, to use in lasagna and to use in baked ziti. I’ve updated the text and the photos. In addition, I’ve altered the recipe a bit by omitting ground turkey, i.e., just using Italian sausage, cutting the recipe in half and using petit diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes.
If you’d like a similar recipe, check out my Sausage Ragu. It’s amazing.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 medium onion chopped, (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
- 14.5 ounce can petit diced tomatoes
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- ½ cup water
- Meat sauce from above
- 18 ounce package cheese ravioli (See Tip 1)
- 2 cups (8-ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ cup (2-ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Brown Italian sausage in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Transfer paper towel lined plate to drain. Allow to cool; rub meat between fingers to break up into small pieces.
- Wipe skillet with paper towel to remove any remaining grease. Add onions; sauté over medium heat for about five minutes.
- Return sausage to skillet; stir to combine. Add basil, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic. Stir well to combine; cook for 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant.
- Add petit diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, red wine and water; stir well to combine. Bring to a slow boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for three hours, adding more liquid if necessary. (See Tip 2)
- Correct the seasonings if necessary. Yield: 8 servings. (See Tip 3)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 9 x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Spread one cup of meat sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the ravioli, half of the remaining meat sauce, half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.
- Yield: 8 servings.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- I used fresh ravioli stuffed with mozzarella cheese, but you could also use frozen ravioli. If using frozen ravioli, increase the covered cooking time by 5 minutes.
If you’re making your own meat sauce, you can cook it on the stove top or can transfer mixture to a crock pot and cook on high setting for 5 hours; or cook covered in 300° F oven for 3 hours.
This amazing meat sauce makes a delicious base for baked ziti and is awesome served over pasta.
- Leftovers if any are delicious. Also leftovers can be frozen for later use.